By: Jasyn Zangari
Gennady Golovkin. The mere mention of this name sends fear throughout the boxing world, more so the Middleweight division. Since stepping onto the world stage in 2012 against Grzegorz Proksa in New York, Golovkin has continued his streak of dominance that started long before his name was known to the casual fan. 21 consecutive knockout victories, 34 consecutive victories, and 15 consecutive Middleweight title defenses have landed Golovkin on top of the 160 pound class, and in many P4P list’s top 5.
Jumping to another “Middleweight” phenom now, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Tallying an impressive yet underwhelming 42-0-1 record to begin his career, Canelo was viewed as the next superstar in boxing before Golovkin emerged on the scene. At only 25 years of age, Canelo has been a professional for nearly 10 years now, beginning his career in Mexico in 2005. Competing at Light Middleweight for several years, holding and defending a world title for nearly 2 years, Canelo will make the move to Middleweight this November when he faces current WBC and Ring Middleweight king Miguel Cotto. Cotto made the move to Middleweight only a year ago as well, defeating Sergio Martinez, and then Daniel Geale, to solidify himself as a true force at 160 pounds. But the main problem with all of this is simple: what is a true Middleweight?
The upcoming Canelo/Cotto bout, which will be contested for 2 world titles, has a Catchweight limit of 155 pounds, 5 below the Middleweight limit. Cotto’s 2 previous bouts in this class had him weighing in at 155 (Martinez) and 153.5 (Geale). Canelo has generally weighed in around the accepted limit for Light Middleweight, which is 154 pounds. Golovkin however, generally enters the ring pushing the limits of the weight class, 159 or 160. Now while the weight class is for fighters from 155 to 160, common sense would dictate that you can weigh anywhere in between those numbers and be fine. But with Canelo or Cotto as a “Middleweight” champion, this may become an issue moving forward.
When asked about a possible bout with Golovkin, Canelo had this to say:
“Look, I’m ready but right now I’m fully focused on this fight but I’m ready to fight anyone. I don’t run from anybody. What I will do is never give weight advantages. I learned my lesson. That was the first thing I learned from my loss to Floyd, to not give any weight advantages, neither more or less, so if he wants to fight with me, let him come down to 155 and I’ll fight him whatever day he wants”
If Canelo was still competing as a Light Middleweight, this would make sense. But now that he has a chance to become a true Middleweight champion, calling for a Catchweight to meet a fellow Middleweight not only seem laughable, it seems like a poor excuse to avoid fighting a serious threat. Can you imagine a Middleweight title bout between Chris Weidman and Luke Rockhold only taking place with a 179 pound weight limit? Hell, Floyd Mayweather, a true Welterweight boxer (147) pounds, moved up to 154 to face both Canelo and Cotto. We see many fighters make the weight class jump for a one off bout all the time, but yet fighters competing in a weight class now get to decide “you may only fight me if you weigh in at the lowest possible weight the class allows”?
Golden Boy head Oscar De La Hoya was seen on camera this past weekend stating that if David Lemieux were to defeat Golovkin, a possible bout with Canelo would be a realistic option for the Mexican born fighter. And why not, both are Golden Boy fighters and Lemieux, staring at his largest payday ever, would surely bend to Canelo’s demand for a catch weight bout. But there was no real mention of a Golovkin/Canelo bout, despite numerous tweets and comments from De La Hoya talking about how badly Canelo would like to face the dominant Golovkin.
Since Golovkin debuted in America, the weight of his opponent, and himself, have been:
– Grzegorz Proksa: 159. Golovkin: 159
– Gabriel Rosado: 159. Golovkin: 160
– Nobuhiro Ishida: 158.5. Golovkin: 159.5
– Matthew Macklin: 159. Golovkin: 159
– Curtis Stevens: 159.25. Golovkin: 159.5
– Osumanu Adama: 159.25. Golovkin: 159.5
– Daniel Geale: 159.25. Golovkin: 159.75
– Marco Antonio Rubio: 161.75. Golovkin: 159
– Martin Murray: 159.75. Golovkin: 159
– Willie Monroe: 160. Golovkin: 159
– David Lemieux: 159.74. Golovkin: 159.5
With the exception of Rubio, who missed weight, Golovkin has faced true Middleweights from the get-go. With Canelo making his debut versus Cotto, there is no comparisons for his bouts, but Cotto’s previous opponent’s entered the ring weighing 158.75 (Martinez) and 157 (Geale). For the Geale bout, Cotto’s first title defense for a Middleweight title, a 157 pound caveat was added to the bout. There would be no penalty for either man should they weigh more, but Cotto reserved the right to cancel the bout should Geale weigh even a pound over 157. Remember, this was a bout for a 160 pound title, yet the champion had the right to scrap the bout even if the contender weighed under the accepted class limit.
Even Cotto’s bout with Martinez had a weight limit in place, which was only 1 pound under the Middleweight limit, but at the time, Geale did have some words on this “demand” from Cotto:
Currently, the Middleweight division has 5 champions for it’s 5 official titles:
Golovkin: WBA Super, WBC Interim, IBF
Cotto: WBC, Ring
Andy Lee: WBO
Chris Eubanks: WBA Interim
Daniel Jacobs: WBA
Lee won his title against Matvey Korobov, with Lee weighing in at 159.75 pounds and Korobov coming in at 159.5. Eubanks earned gold by defeating Dmitry Chudinov, with both men weighing at least 159 pounds. Jacobs, defeating Jarrod Fletcher, entered weighing 159.5, Fletcher at 159.25 pounds. There were no catch weights in place to favor one fighter or another for any of these bouts, and for any world title, there should not ever be.
As it stands now, three men reign supreme over the weight class, Golovkin, Cotto and Canelo. Fighters such as Lee, Jacobs, Peter Quillin, Billy Joe Saunders, Hassam N’Dam and others are all very respectable talents, but they are all playing second fiddle to the previously mentioned 3. Barely a week after his victory over David Lemieux, Golovkin has seemingly sensed a bout with either Cotto or Canelo will not happen, and has verbally offered Lee the next shot to dethrone his legacy. Lee does have Saunders up next in December, but with the ridiculous demands both Cotto and Canelo seem to carry, Golovkin may need to look to unify the division in another order, specifically Lee or Saunders next and then hope the winner of Cotto/Canelo loosen up their diva like demands, or lose to another, allowing Golovkin to compete as what he is: a Middleweight boxer defending and capturing titles against other Middleweights, not wannabe Middleweights that are Light Middleweights.